This past month, I have had a rash of requests from school districts to assist them in aligning their technology program with Common Core State standards. This takes me back to the days when everyone wanted to match their lesson plans with ISTE NETS standards. We all had to review our activities, rethink connections and rework details.
Now, for the 46 states that have adopted Common Core State Standards, that’s happening again, with a different tilt.
Let me back up. What are Common Core State Standards? According to the Mission Statement posted on their website:
The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.
Their bi-line speaks volumes…
Preparing America’s Students for College and Career
Common Core Standards address math, reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, and are designed “to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young audience needs in order to be successful.”
For us in technology, it reinforces what has already been a focus: Technology is no longer a stand-alone subject; rather it is expected to support core subjects. Yes, skills must be taught, but as an integration into classroom inquiry.
That doesn’t mean skills are out, just that examples used to teach skills connect to a classroom unit.
Which is something many of us do anyway.
There is one other challenge–beyond reworking lesson plans so those connections are clear. Technology skills are taught in a sequence. Students are ready for each new skill based on the foundation laid by prior skills. You don’t want to do a trifold in Publisher (published to the website with Embedit.in) or a movie in Animoto no matter how nicely it supports a literary unit until students understand concepts like tools, toolbars, software, inputting text and pictures, digital citizenship, images, and internet research.
The other focus with Common Core standards that is a change from traditional technology teaching is the emphasis on publishing and sharing. That no longer means posting work on the classroom walls. It requires use of tools available on the internet to share work with all students and parents, tools like blogs, wikis, Embedit.in, Slideshare, Scribd, and more.
OK. That’s enough. Next week, I’ll give suggestions for K-5 projects that align with specific standards. Stay tuned!
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.